Over 150,000 Hudson Valley residents are affected by a little-talked-about bathroom disorder that can ruin lives.

It's the second most pervasive phobia in the country after public speaking, affecting up to 25% of Americans. Yet, paruresis is hardly ever discussed, leaving many people to suffer in silence.

Luckily, there's a new support group in the Hudson Valley that is addressing the issue and even offering a weekend-long workshop next month for those willing to confront the disorder head-on.


What is Paruresis?

The International Paruresis Association has chapters all over the globe to address the issue of "shy bladder syndrome". It's a disorder that occurs when a man or woman is unable to urinate in the real or imaginary presence of others.

While we've all been in a situation where it's been hard to get things started, those with Paruresis find it virtually impossible to use public restrooms at all. The inability to urinate around others results in missing out on public events and travel or even resorting to dangerous practices like dehydration to avoid using public bathrooms.

The Cure For Paruresis is Just What You Think It Is

Steven Soifer says that he used to think he was alone with his fear of urination until he found the IPA. Now, he's become the founder of the Hudson Valley chapter and is hosting meetings and an upcoming weekend-long workshop.


According to Soifer, the meetings are meant to confront the phobia and work through it by doing exactly what you think.

Yes, that means we’ll load up on fluids and practice with our ‘pee buddies’ nearby. These practice sessions are technically ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ that diminishes the body’s uncontrollable ‘lock up.

Soifer says that exposing people to their fear is a proven way to overcome paruresis and the IPA has witnessed many lives improved by get-togethers like this.

Weekend-Long Workshop Next Month

The Hudson Valley chapter of the IPA will host a weekend-long workshop at the White Plains Residence Inn from December 1 to 3. The workshop includes hearing experiences of other sufferers, "practice sessions" and more. Registration is still available, but Soifer says limited seats are remaining.

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